Diner Week Day 5: The White Spot


The White Spot

1701 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
479.783.9345

The White Spot is one of those places you’ve likely seen, wondered about, and made a mental note to maybe try one of these days. Yet maybe something’s kept you from doing it.

Who eats there, you wonder. Possibly no one you know. But it’s a place you can tell has been there likely longer than you’ve been alive or at least as long as you can remember.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats exterior

No, it's not a racist thing. We asked. They said they get that question a lot. The White Spot was a reference to the place's cleanliness, to distinguish it from the other "greasy spoons."

You see people going in and out of it, a couple here and there as you drive down Rogers Ave., an elderly man in jeans and a ballcap getting into his pickup, maybe a whole gaggle of them going in with newpapers under their arms. You can tell without too much stretch of the imagination that this is somewhere the reg’lars go to sit together over coffee every morning and talk about whatever the good Lord and the Times Record have provided for them to discuss.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats interior

A lot of things at The White Spot haven't changed over the years. Including the way the waitresses are always in motion.

That’s cool. Not a problem, glad they have somewhere they like to go. But what’s in it for me, you ask. The Big Question: How’s the food? What’s the White Spot vibe like for the under-70 demographic?

Fort Smith Eats Skinny's White Spot Cafe sign

Is it just us, or does the sign always make you crave doughnuts?

Fort Smith Eats has been going to The White Spot for a while. And yes–big reveal–we’re under 70. Here’s what we can tell you about The White Spot. We’ve found food there in every general category we have: “Blech,” “Meh,” “Yum,” and “Sweet Molly Malone That’s Effing Amazing.”

Before the food, the atmosphere. The joint is what it is and it’s great that way. There’s pictures on the walls, but they’re mainly pictures of past owners or of some newspaper story, or maybe a fishing tournament someone was in once. It’s not what you’d call “decorated.” More like “functionalated.” It works.

Another thing that works? The burgers. These have been the mainstay of The White Spot some eleventy dozen years or however long it’s been around. Like the sign says, you can get 12 of the basic small ‘uns (mustard, pickles, onions) for $7.50. We’ve never done this. We have however been tempted to pick some up the next time our coworker hands us a $10 at lunch and says, “I don’t know, just surprise me. Burger or something,” and stack them all on his desk like  a pyramid with the change from the $10 on top. Haven’t yet, but it’s tempting.

We recommend one of the bigger burgers. The 1/3 pounder is hearty and stacked with a-coo-tree-ments. Saw one of those in there the other day and wished we’d ordered it. Really wish we had a good burger picture to show you, because that would convince you to try The White Spot. Alas, our words will have to sustain you. Nary a burger pic to be found.
If you don’t like your beef on buns (“Freak!”), an 8-oz hamburger steak with grilled onions, salad, fries and bread will set you back $5.95. It makes us chuckle that for 55 cents more you can swap your 8-oz hamburger steak for an 8-oz T-bone. That’s the sort of place The White Spot is. T-bone, salad, fries, & bread for $6.50.

The first plate lunch we ordered was pretty squarely in the “Meh” category. The chicken fried steak wasn’t bad. But we’re guessing it came in a box frozen with 49 others. No hand battering that we could detect. We almost hate to say it, but it sort of reminded us of school cafeteria chicken fried steak.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats Chicken Fried Steak Plate Lunch

We may have our quibbles about The White Spot's plate lunches being something we'd crave, but the price-- $5.49 for entree, 3 sides, Texas toast or roll and a drink-- is worth celebrating.

 

Same thing with the obviously machine-made fried squash. Wasn’t that good. Mashed potatoes were fine, but not Boom-A-Rang fine.
The White Spot Fort Smith Eats fried squash

Deep-fried squash. A little too perfect.

The meatloaf plate fared better. Still, the brown gravy was lacking in a complexity of flavor. Just tasted brown.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats meatloaf

All-American meal: meatloaf, mashed potaters, green beans and (hiding off-camera because it's shy) fried okra. There's a roll lurking around in the wings somewhere too.

If you have the chance, order the pinto beans as a side. They’re great because they are also part of Skinny’s fixins for Friday Nite Catfish. If you missed our crazed ravings about Friday Nite Catfish, you can still read them here. Let it be said once more, that this is THE time to go visit The White Spot. If you like catfish at all, we’re betting you won’t be disappointed in Skinny’s.

 

Fort Smith Eats The White Spot Friday Nite Catfish

Once you've had it, this picture will make your mouth water. We can't even read our own blog without salivating over it.

Fort Smith Eats The White Spot pinto beans

Our favorite lunch side. Pinto beans, with smoky meat and extra yum added.

Breakfast is usually pretty solid at The White Stop, and always cheap. Take a look at the biscuits portion of the menu.

 

Fort Smith Eats The White Spot menu

How much do we love how battered this menu is? They're all like that. There are fancier restaurants that pay decorators and marketing teams big money to get their menus looking so "vintage distressed." When it comes to authentic old diner menus, The White Spot brings it.

 

The omelettes are good. We like the Western one. Takes us back to our Fort Smith wild West roots (this town was like Western or something, right?). The cheese is nicely shredded, not just the cellophane-wrapped sort just slapped on there.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats omelette

Western Omelette. We're betting they were invented in the East, don't ya think?

 

But wait–what’s that other stuff over in the corner of the picture? Control Room, can you zoom in on that?

Oh. My. Gawd. Are those grits supposed to be eaten?

Too Buttery Grits The White Spot Fort Smith Eats

Dunno what's worse: The pooling rivulets of greasy butter and/or margarine, the completely undercooked grits, or the fact that the whole thing looks like a sick, volcanic inverted nipple.

Luckily, the tender pork chops, perfectly over-medium eggs and biscuit came to the rescue.

The White Spot Fort Smith Eats breakfast pork chops

These breakfast chops had us licking our own chops. But question: Why doesn't anyone serve pork chops with chopsticks? We want to invent that.

One weirdly fatty bowl of grits isn’t enough to keep us from returning. We like The White Spot. Best food ever in the history of food? Nah. But it’s like the old White Spot motto one of our Twitter peeps reminded us of the other day: “Order what you like, eat what you get.”

The White Spot may get the occasional complaint, but we bet they pay them no heed. They just keep doing what they’re doing and we keep going back. But you’re most likely to run into us there on Friday nights.

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5 responses to “Diner Week Day 5: The White Spot

  1. Thank you we enjoyed having you and everyone..It is my heart and soul…I thank god for what I have….

  2. im sorry your grits was not good …let them know how u want them cooked next time…but thank you for stoping by……..

  3. No worries, Skinny. We’ve been by your place to eat many times since then. Just gotta call out the mistakes when we get them, too.

  4. larry thompson

    i lived in ft.smith as a kid. in 1952 you could get 8 burgers for 1 dollar. what a great fried onion mustard pickle burger. im 66 and my mouth still waters at the idea of eating one,wow

  5. I’ve always love the white spot cafe but I can’t get away to go there and i miss it very much

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